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SEPT. 2023


At South’s Annual Meeting on August 27th, we gave an update on our progress regarding the question of female leadership (this meeting is available to watch online). Below is a brief summary of what was shared at the annual meeting:
  • The question of female eldership at South
    • The question of female eldership has been a topic at South Fellowship in some form for many years. The topic was last formally considered by South’s board of elders in 2016 when the board elected to open pastoral roles to women.
    • Based on the lack of clarity concerning South’s differing positions about female pastors versus elders and the existence of an ongoing conversation among some parts of the community, the elder board felt compelled to ask God whether this topic should be a point of study and consideration at South. The elder board felt no pressure from the broader community or culture about seeking God’s will around engaging this topic. After an intentional, prayerful conversation within the elder board through the latter half of 2022, the board conducted a 2 day-guided discernment process. During this 2-day discernment process, the elder board sensed clear and unanimous permission from God to engage this question and to involve the community of South in the conversation.
  • Listening Forums
    • One of the first steps to involve the community in this process was to host Listening Forums. These forums were designed to allow the elder board to hear from the community and for the community members to hear from one another.
    • In early August, after 7 forums with more than 70 participants were conducted, the listening forums phase was completed. The elder board conducted forums until no further participants registered for upcoming forums so that all who wanted to participate could do so.
    • The community of South Fellowship engaged in these conversations with honesty, grace, and thoughtfulness. Many differing views and opinions were shared, but always respectfully and with love for one another. The elder board is heartened and honored to be a part of a community that has engaged this conversation so well!
  • Next Steps
    • The elder board is committed that this process be anchored in God’s Word. We began this process with an examination of scriptures and commentaries on scripture. We are continuing this and are diving deeper as we go. In the near future, we will be sharing a detailed list of scripture references and commentaries that we are studying here on this website. We invite the community of South to study alongside us.
    • We have also invited two experts from Denver Seminary, one complementarian and one egalitarian, to meet with us so that we might further understand the scriptures that are particularly relevant to this question.
    • We are grateful to you, the community of South Fellowship, for engaging this conversation well, and we would very much appreciate your prayers for the elder board and the community during this process.
    • Our best estimate for the time required to conclude this discernment process is mid-2024. However, we intend to take the time that the question needs to be addressed thoughtfully and prayerfully.